Editor’s note: Originally published in Field Service, a quarterly print magazine by Field Service Digital and ServiceMax from GE Digital. Check out the full magazine in print or online.

There’s no shortage of metrics available to help gauge the health of your service organization. But if you had to pick one — and only one — to focus on, what would it be? Field Service Digital posted that question to four industry pros. Their responses suggest what every field service leader knows: Time = money.

Gregers Johansen | Service Industry Consultant

I’d focus on field engineers’ efficiency, meaning number of hours invoiced per field engineer. Field engineers are the production force for the service company and the backbone of the service business. If you want to run a profitable service business, all invoiced hours by field engineers must cover all costs in the service company (e.g., salary, back office costs, vehicles, tools, and so on). Measuring service efficiency is, in my view, the number one priority. — Gregers Johansen, consultant and former group VP for service at Grundfos

Michael Blumberg | Blumberg Advisory Group

[My choice would be] first-time fix rate (FTF), for many reasons. First, it measures how effective a service organization is at planning and managing parts, people and other resources. Second, FTF is a leading indicator. If it’s high, then customer satisfaction and loyalty will be high. Field service productivity and utilization will also be high, since more calls are completed the same day. As leaders contemplate investments in new service tools and technologies (IoT, AR, and so on), or consider new strategies aimed at increasing service revenue, they can examine the impact these decisions have on FTF, and vice versa. — Michael Blumberg, president, Blumberg Advisory Group

Victoria Butt | Chair-a-Medics

In 2017, we set up our inventory management system by creating part names and numbers for every inventory part from every vendor. This year, we’re focusing on tracking the exact GPS location of every inventory part in the field in an effort to keep costs down and ensure that our technicians are equipped with everything they need to minimize return visits and expedite customer satisfaction. — Victoria Butt, IT manager, Chair-a-Medics

Joe Kenny | ServiceMax from GE Digital

First-time fix rate (FTF) is the most important metric, because it is the result of so many baseline requirements for a truly world-class service operation. The ability to attain a high FTF requires excellent problem identification and validation in the call center, dispatcher visibility to technician skills and abilities, inventory control, and technician training and education. A weakness in any area compromises your ability to repair the equipment the first time. But if you improve this performance indicator, your labor utilization and margins will increase exponentially. — Joe Kenny, VP of global customer transformation and customer success, ServiceMax from GE Digital

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